Jose Mourinho slammed his Tottenham players for ‘lazy pressing’ as they began the new Premier League campaign with a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Everton.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s superb second-half header secured Carlo Ancelotti’s men a deserved three points and a first victory in 16 attempts against the north London side.
Mourinho was unimpressed with his side’s lethargic display and conceded some of his players were not fit for the start of the 2020/21 season.
“The struggle started in the way we pressed or, I will say, in the way we didn’t press because our pressure up was very poor,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I would say it was lazy pressure and when you have lazy pressure, you don’t press and you let opponents build from the back and then they have players with incredible quality, which is not just Everton, it’s almost everybody in the Premier League. When you let them play from the back then they are comfortable with the ball.”
Clarifying his ‘lazy’ remark, he added: “Lazy pressure. Lazy pressure up front, that is what I am saying, and that creates unbalanced situations for the rest of the team.
“I could also feel that some of my players are not fit. Matt [Doherty] was struggling to play the way he plays and the way you want him to play, as an example.
“We also had other players that were a little bit in trouble from a physical point of view.
“Two very strange pre-seasons for some and in other cases not even a pre-season, but congratulations to my dear friend Carlo and the Everton boys.”
The Portuguese boss also blamed a disrupted pre-season, where a number of his players had coronavirus, for a dismal start to the season.
Mourinho, who did not name the players infected, said he ‘did not like his team’ and they lacked intensity, but did give them mitigation in the shape of poor preparation.
“Harry Kane trained with us once,” he explained. “Moussa Sissoko, a couple and I am not going player by player. For different reasons many of our players didn’t have proper pre-seasons.
“We had cases of positive COVID-19, we have the right not to say which players, but we had players, we had other players in quarantine due to proximity with positive players.
“We had a player in quarantine because he was on holiday in a country which the government quarantined, we had national teams where many of them went to their team so it was a difficult pre-season.
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“I couldn’t expect them to be sharp, intense, agile. But I was expecting much more individually and collectively. It disappoints me, and that is where I have now to work.
“The players who didn’t have pre-season, we don’t have now the possibility to give them a pre-season but we have a lot of matches now to play consecutively and we have to use these matches, not just to win them and the knockout ones are obviously decisive ones with everything decided in 120 minutes or even penalties, and try to use this to improve the form of some players because some of them were really in trouble.”